Experience vs. Certification

Stacie Jansen van Vuren
Updated on

It is a common misconception that a PRINCE2® certification is only beneficial to new and aspiring Project Managers with no experience. The demand for PRINCE2® qualified professionals is on the increase amongst employers. Many experienced Project Managers are beginning to question whether it is worth getting certified when they already have years of experience in the industry.

In the past, the general rule during the recruitment process was that experience won out over qualifications. The job market, however, has changed and now this is not always the case. In the Project Management field, experience is always a huge factor for potential employers as there are skills that cannot be gained by study alone; such as conflict resolution and people management.

Employers will always be interested in candidates that have a proven track record of running successful projects and those who have build up portfolios of their previous work. However, this experience alone is not always enough to secure a job or a contract position.

These days, employers are faced with immense volumes of applicants when they may only have a few Project Management roles available within their organisation. This is also often the case when recruiters are looking to hire contract workers for Project Management positions. They need a way to quickly sort through all of the applications so there is a more manageable number to consider taking through to the interview stage. A common way of doing this is to check the qualifications of each applicant. The PRINCE2® Practitioner certification is deemed to be highly beneficial when looking at competency to run a project successfully. Of course, the qualification can vary between industries, but PRINCE2® remains dominant in the job market.

Another practice that is becoming more common is the use of online searches to sift through Project Management worker databases to find appropriate candidates to interview. This is particularly frequent with contract work offers. Job boards such as Reed, CV-Library and Total Jobs are being used more regularly by employers and recruitment agencies alike. This method makes it very easy to choose a keyword search term such as “PRINCE2® Practitioner” to filter the available recruits and applications. This will result in those candidates without a PRINCE2® qualification on their CV being completely cut out of the process and not even being seen.

A PRINCE2® certification has become an HR “tick box” on a CV. This is simply because many Human Resources Departments are now required to specify that potential employees have a PRINCE2® qualification. In some cases, having the qualification is just about fulfilling the specific criteria that will get you past the CV filtering process. From that point onwards, your experience and skills are essential and it is then that your individual strengths will become the key in progressing through to the next stage.

This means that regardless of the amount of experience that you may have the lack of a PRINCE2® certification on your CV or application can mean that your CV does not get noticed. In the majority of cases, if your CV slips through the filtering cracks, it will be impossible to get through to the interview stage, and further. This is why being PRINCE2® qualified is becoming increasingly essential to those who are trying to secure contracts in Project Management – even if you already have years of experience in a Project Management role.

Much of what is covered in the PRINCE2® courses will come as second nature to an experienced Project Manager, but having the internationally recognised qualification will immeasurably improve future career prospects and advancement. Ensure that your experience and skills are noticed by employers and recruiters by gaining the official PRINCE2® Practitioner certification which will prove invaluable to your career.